On Balance: Early thoughts on 2.403

Relic. God over all things COH.If you haven’t seen the changelog for the 2.403 beta patch, you ought to. It is probably the most comprehensive and sensible list of balance changes to date. There are a number of new mechanics introduced by the patch and that alone should persuade vast numbers of balance whiners who haven’t download the beta, to do so. I know that 8GB of space is hard to free up, but surely the chance to play the most balanced version of COH post-Opposing Fronts has to mean something. Surely it justifies deleting a few gigs of porn?

In any case, as the list of tentative changes is so long, I’ll just proceed down a list of key issues and major changes. I’ll have to play more games to really highlight things to praise/bitch about, so these are initial impressions.

v2.403 06/13/2008

British nerfed
– British Resource upgrades no longer share with teammates.
About time. This was a relatively easy fix that should’ve been implemented long ago.
– British Royal Engineers’ Improved Emplacements nerfed (health and damage modifiers reduced)
Hopefully this is enough to discourage emplacement spam from being British players’ top strategy in team games
– British Commandos nerfed; Concealing Smoke must recharge upon initial Commando deployment (i.e. Commandos can’t use the smoke immediately after exiting Glider) and Demo Charges can now be killed with small arms
I had personally made my peace with Commandos a ways back, but neither of these changes inhibits Commandos’ main function, they just stop stupid stuff. Good change.

Americans buffed
– US Riflemen will gain veterancy faster as the game progresses, modified by performing upgrades (Sticky Bombs, BARs, Grenades, Supply Yard Level 1 Production, Supply Yard Level 2 Production)
Wow, this is a very subtle buff that’s clearly designed to make vetted Riflemen more common in the mid and late game. Normally fresh Rifles (from a Medic Tent or Barracks)  would be slaughtered by vet Wehrmacht or PE infantry in long games. In my first game 2.403 game, I had 4 triple-vet Rifles, they held their own against Storms and owned Volks for free. Still die fast to MP44s and Bundled Grenades but in an even gunfight they stand up MUCH better than before. Feels pretty fair, but I will withold judgement till I fight a really good player.
– US .30 Cal MG gains veterancy faster
Good change and a subtle one, but hopefully it encourages more MG use particularly vs PE
– US Airborne can upgrade Recoilless Rifles out of territory
Matches Fallschirmjagers’ ability to get FG42s anywhere. One concern might be dropping Airborne into a base and getting Recoilless to kill buildings, but obviously PE Flakvierlings would rape paratroopers. Wehrmacht would have time to defend against this anyway. I like this change.
– US M3 Halftrack health increases by 60 to 375 when upgrading with Quad .50.
Here’s a great change that will encourage more Quad use instead of producing the M8 every single time once a Motor Pool is up. An increase of 60HP is about a 16% boost in overall health, so this WILL NOT let you use the Quad like an M8. However it will probably allow the Quad to survive one additional Panzershreck round. 

Americans buffed vs. all PE infantry
– US Mortar gains 75% increase to damage modifier vs. PE infantry armor type
Great change. Mortars weren’t worth building before. Combine this with quicker MG veterancy and this is a great way to encourage use of weapon teams against PE.
– PE’s G43 Volley Fire ability will no longer slow retreating squads
Another good change. As was demonstrated in my recent Battle Report (LINK), G43 Volley Fire allowed entire Rifle squads to be brutally ground down to nothing even as they try to retreat.

Americans buffed vs. super-heavy tanks
– US 57mm AT gun penetration modifier vs Jagdpanthers increased from appox .08 to .18.
At long last.
US M10 3in main gun penetration increased 20% (from approx .35 to .42) vs Panzer Elite Jagdpanther
I still think M10s die too fast. Speed barely matters when that Jagd has panzershreck support. Plus its range is average at best and the M10 still misfires. But this is a step in the right direction.
– US Sherman 76mm upgraded gun penetration increased 20% (from approx .32 to .38) vs Panzer Elite Jagdpanther
Nice. The 76mm upgrade was pretty worthless vs. King Tiger and Jagd before. Now the Jagd is less of an issue.
– Panzer Elite Jagdpanther health reduced from 1800 to 1600.
Continuing the Jagd nerf series…

American armor buffed
– Pershing receives 35% penetration bonus across the board when 76mm upgun upgrade researched at Tank Depot
Wow, another unique change that is clearly aimed at boosting Armor Company. It might be too early to say this, but I still think Armor Company needs more help. Pershing comes too late, comes with Calliopes another 6 CP away, and you only get Field Repairs and Rapid Deployment to help you survive to Tank Depot. It seems unlikely you can last to a TD without Motor Pool units first, because you won’t have Rangers or Paratroopers for anti-tank. So you’ll take forever to hit a TD against a good opponent. I’ll test this out in the next few games.
– Panzer Elite Marder III Site Main Gun weapon damage modifier removed. Was 1.35.
This seems to be an all-round change, so Site Main Gun only increases rate-of-fire now. Good.
– Panzer Elite Marder III Site Main Gun sight bonus reduced from 20m to 5m.
Good, now you’ll need units to spot for it. Hurray for unit combos.

PE camouflage ambush bonus
– Panzer Elite Fallschirmjager ambush modifiers are increased significantly. Attacking out of camouflage, Fallschirmjager receive a 2x accuracy and 3x damage bonus.
Trying to cloak Fallschirmjagers in bushes was tough before, but now you get a real incentive.
– Panzer Elite Fallschirmjager will reveal themselves after 3 shots instead of 4 shots and revert_time_multiplier is increased from 1.25 to 1.5.
Again, more FJ ambushes must be attempted.

Being tired after a job-related conference in Baltimore, I am open to comments and feedback from anyone and everyone, fanboys included.


One Response to On Balance: Early thoughts on 2.403

  1. adrock2xander says:

    I’ve only been around since 1.5 but this is the best patch yet. Wholesale changes to all four factions, with nerfs and buffs in the appropriate areas. I’m still talking in relation to mostly 2v2, but as I play more 1v1s I will be more qualified to talk about proper ‘balance’.

    Me thinks we’ll see lots of vet 3 Falls vs vet 3 rifles battles. Yay for blobbing! :O

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